Black America's economic freefall

By: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
January 8, 2010

It's amazing how white American Christians can continue to ignore the very REAL fact of incipient RACISM in the United States a racism that is still in full vigor despite the election of a black president. The truth is, the election of Barak Obama to the presidency is nothing more than a subterfuge perpetrated by the elite establishment on Americans as a whole which portrays the ascendancy of a few blacks economically and politically as the "norm," while ignoring the blatant racism still being practiced against the great majority of blacks in this country. We URGE you to see our articles on this subject, "Measuring the Depravity of the Elites: Pacifying the Poor through Drug Addiction," "Racism and Right-Wing Christianity;" also "The Utility of Police Brutality in the Elite's War against the Poor" and "A Second Illusion Broken: That Obama's Victory Is a Precursor to Racial Harmony in the United States."]

THE AMERICAN economy has gone through what has been called the Great Recession. But the crisis in Black communities across the U.S. constitutes an outright depression ...

Unemployment has reached catastrophic levels in Black communities. The numbers are staggering. Official African American unemployment was 15.6 percent in November 2009, compared to an overall national rate 10 percent - and those statistics leave out workers who have been forced into part-time jobs because they couldn't find full-time work, or who have been pushed out of the workforce altogether.


A simple way to understand the REAL unemployment rate is to double the "official" figure put out by the government. [Please see our article, "A Permanent 30% Unemployment Rate for the Country;" this article differentiates between what the government calls its "U3 Report" and its "U6 Report."]

For young African Americans, male and female, aged 16 to 29, joblessness is as high as 30 percent [which translated into REAL terms is 60%], according to the Washington Post. According to one report, between 2006 and 2009, more than 6 percent of Black men have lost their jobs--in real numbers, that adds up to the disappearance of more than 489,000 jobs.

Unemployment among Black women 20 and older has risen by more than 4 percentage points since the beginning of the recession, bringing their total unemployment rate up to more than 11 percent [22% in REAL terms] --which is 75 percent higher than for white women in the same age range.

The overview of unemployment doesn't begin to convey the extent of the jobs crisis in Black America. Officially, the nation's highest unemployment rate is in Detroit, which is 83 percent Black--joblessness is a staggering 28 percent [56% in REAL terms]. Unemployment on the mostly Black South and West Sides of Chicago comes in second at 22 percent [44% in REAL terms]. The top 10 areas in the country where unemployment is concentrated include Black neighborhoods in Toledo, Ohio; Atlanta; and St. Louis.

But a study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee shows that the jobs desert for African Americans is more severe than the official figures show.

The study found Black male unemployment for men aged 16 to 64 to be unprecedented and overwhelming. Buffalo had the highest percentage of Black men either unemployed or permanently out of the labor force at 52 percent [which, being translated in REAL terms, means almost total unemployment for this category]. That was followed by Milwaukee at 47 percent [again, almost total unemployment for this category] and Chicago at 43 percent [ditto]. Among 35 major metropolitan areas, African Americans had the "lowest" unemployment in Washington, D.C. at 27 percent. In most of those 35 cities, Black unemployment hovered somewhere between 30 and 35 percent [i.e., 60 and 70 percent respectively].

The problem is not just an issue of not having a job. The loss of jobs in Black communities is exacerbating social disparities that have historically caused a lesser quality of life for African Americans.

For example, the rapid loss of jobs means that greater numbers of African Americans are losing their health care, which will only worsen disparities around health care between Blacks and whites that already exist ... With Black unemployment growing steadily today, the numbers of the Black uninsured are sure to rise.

Unemployment also impacts rising levels of poverty in Black communities. A recent report found that 90 percent of Black children are part of families that will use food stamps by the time they are 20 years old. All told, 40 percent of Black children live in poverty, according the government's official statistics. According to the census, a full quarter of African Americans were living in poverty in 2007--two years before the unemployment crisis in Black America.

While foreclosures are not tracked by race, the number of Black homeowners who face the threat of losing their homes is believed to be twice that of whites. A study conducted by the Woodstock Institute in Chicago found an 18 percent jump in foreclosures across the city in 2008, but most were concentrated in African American neighborhoods like Englewood and West Englewood. In these two neighborhoods alone, there were 725 foreclosures in a nine-month period.

Activists march in the May 1, 2008, demonstration in Detroit

The Woodstock Institute has found that for every one home foreclosure on a given block. the value of the remaining homes decrease by 1 percent. Thus, the heavy concentration of home foreclosures in African American neighborhoods is rapidly destroying the value and worth of the remaining homes in the neighborhood.

According to the Center for Responsible Lending, 53 percent of African Americans who bought homes in 2006 have already lost or will lose their homes to foreclosure in the next few years, compared to 22 percent of white borrowers facing foreclosure.

THERE HAVE been many explanations offered for the job disparities between African Americans and whites during this recession. Some focus on education and training as the main problem with the employability of African Americans ...

There are certainly elements of both explanations that are true. But the larger issue in the overwhelming way the recession is impacting Black America has to do with racism. It's amazing the lengths to which politicians will go to avoid mentioning race and racism as factors in the ever swelling number of Black employed ...

But why not talk about race? It's not that some Blacks--for example, undereducated African Americans--are losing all the jobs while others are doing well. According to the New York Times, college-educated African Americans are twice as likely to be unemployed as college-educated whites.

In every head-to-head comparison between Black and white workers--workers without high school diplomas, male workers, female workers or teenage workers--African American workers consistently do worse.

Several studies conducted over the last decade confirm that race remains a factor in whether or not employers hire African American workers.

A report several years ago in the American Economic Review, titled "Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal?" found that applicants with Black-sounding names received 50 percent fewer callbacks than those with white-sounding names. Sociologists Devah Pager and Bruce Western found that white men with a criminal record were more likely to be called back for a job than Black men with no criminal record at all.

In a study conducted last year by the Journal of Labor Economics found that Latino, Asian and white managers are more likely to hire white workers than African American workers. The study, which was based on hiring patterns at a national department store chain, found that when Black managers were replaced with a non-Black, the number of new Black hires declined from 21 percent to 17 percent, and the number of white hires increased from 60 to 64 percent. In a typical Southern store, the numbers were even more stark--the removal of Black managers resulted in new Black hires dropping from 29 percent to 21 percent.

Moreover, if politicians and pundits are going to blame education and training for part of the unemployment disparities, then they should admit that those factors also reflect racism in American society ...

IT'S TRUE that the recession is having a devastating impact on all workers--Black, white and Latino. It's also true that while the U.S. government has the resources to create new jobs through work programs and infuse hundreds of billions of dollars into the American economy to lift up all workers, the administration instead chose to give away a trillion dollars to the bankers that crashed the economy in the first place.

The result has been millions of dollars in bonuses for Wall Street bosses and peanuts for the working class, in the form of a few extra dollars here to expand unemployment benefits and a few extra dollars there for more food stamp usage ...

We need your help to spread the word concerning Antipas Ministries and the eschatological viewpoint it represents; WE NEED YOUR HELP BECAUSE WE DO NOT "LINK" WITH OTHER SO-CALLED "CHRISTIAN" WEBSITES which are, for the most part, "in the tank" insofar as their loyalty to the United States is concerned - a loyalty that has made them partners in the BLOODY trail the American military has left in its TERROR-RIDDEN rampage throughout the world, as well as making them partners in the abject poverty that American corporations have imposed on the peoples and nations the American military machine has ravaged - A BLOODY, TERROR-RIDDEN RAMPAGE THAT HAS TO A LARGE DEGREE BEEN CARRIED OUT IN THE NAME OF THE "PRINCE OF PEACE." [Please see our articles, "The Third World as a Model for the New World Order," Inside the American New World Order System" and "The American Empire: The Corporate / Pentagon / CIA / Missionary Archipelago."]



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